Fukushima and Radioactivity in Seafood

Fukushima and Radioactivity in Seafood

October 14, 2019 39 By Ewald Bahringer


with prevailing westerly winds over Japan nuclear fallout from the Fukushima nuclear power plant tragedy was detected throughout North America at levels comparable to those seen 25 years earlier from Chernobyl the only other category 7 nuclear event in history the highest levels of radioactive iodine and rainwater was found in Boise Idaho and the highest levels in milk were found in San Francisco at levels 10 times higher than the federal maximum allowed in drinking water but below that which would be expected to pose a direct threat to US public health a controversial paper over in the International Journal of Health Sciences suggested the radioactive plume from the nuclear meltdowns in Fukushima may be responsible for a subsequent bump in US mortality similar to what we saw after Chernobyl though the authors themselves underscore the research shows merely a correlation and potential evidence of a causal link and that more research is necessary of all the radiation released only a tiny fraction of the fallout reached u.s. shores and most was absorbed by the Pacific Ocean what does that mean for seafood safety researchers report unequivocal evidence that Pacific bluefin tuna have transported Fukushima derived radioactive fallout across the entire North Pacific Ocean tuna actually migrated from Japan to California and appeared to have taken some radioactivity with them even though there was a tenfold spike in radioactive cesium levels in tuna they put it in context by knowing the baseline levels of radioactivity in fish even before Fukushima due to everything from thermonuclear weapons tests and sunken nuclear submarines to just radioactive elements found naturally in the Earth’s crust the levels in seawater of radioactive polonium for example are miniscule but it appears to strongly bioaccumulate up the food chain into fish this is the same polonium used in the horrific assassination of Ruston Russian Litvinenko that’s the same polonium found in fish it’s a byproduct of uranium decay and frequently cited as one of the reasons tobacco is so carcinogenic something the tobacco industry was well aware of and could have easily removed but the process that could have removed the polonium affected the absorb ility of nicotine and the loss of the nicotine kick sensation was found unacceptable by industry executives so they kept the polonium in the radioactive polonium and cigarettes has been speculated a link between smoking and male infertility but most of human exposure to polonium comes from diet mostly from fish and shellfish and this was before Fukushima so what then happens if you eat seafood researchers measured the increase in radioactive polonium levels in semen after a single seafood meal caused a 300% spike in levels probably not enough to cause infertility but that was just one meal whether the kind of dose you can get from eating seafood would be enough to damage sperm enough still needs to be established you may have to eat as much as a pound of seafood a month before one might realize the harmful effects of the radiation interestingly there’s eight times more polonium in cooked shrimp than in raw shrimp and that fascinating they think it’s because most of the polonium is in the shrimp’s internal organs which is released into the boiling water and contaminates the muscle so gutting crustaceans before cooking may decrease radiation exposure you [Music] you